Utilizing easy-to-find and inexpensive materials, this handy resource teaches desktop warriors how to build a multitude of medieval siege weapons for the modern era. Novice combatants will learn to build 35 defense weapons, including a marshmallow catapult, a chopstick bow, a bottle cap crossbow, and a clothespin ballista. In addition to beefing up their Dark Age arsenal, would-be warriors are provided with a number of targets on which to practice their shooting skills. Clear diagrams, instructions, and safety tips for each project are included, making construction of each of these weapons simple, safe, and fun.
About the Author
John Austin is a professional toy designer and the author of Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction, Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction 2, and So Now You’re a Zombie. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Read an Excerpt
Miniweapons of Mass Destruction 3
Build Siege Weapons of the Dark Ages
By John Austin
Chicago Review Press IncorporatedCopyright © 2013 Austin Design, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Rubber Band Catapults
TIC TAC CATAPULT
As war drums sound in the distance and resources run scarce, this ingenious catapult design could be the kingdom's only salvation. It's the Tic Tac Catapult, and it's awesome! Despite its small size, it has an impressive range and has proven to be very effective during warfare. Plus, it can be quickly constructed without the aid of tools. All the materials needed for assembly can be purchased in bulk, making it easy to mass produce these little siege engines — and doing so won't cost you the royal treasury!
1 medium binder clip (32 mm)
1 Tic Tac container
13 rubber bands
8 craft sticks
Duct tape (optional)
1+ soft candies or small, hard candies
Begin construction with the catapult arm or beam. Locate one medium (32 mm) or similar sized binder clip that can clamp onto a Tic Tic container — test fit it now. Use one rubber band to fasten one craft stick onto the inside of the metal handle attached to the binder clip. Duct tape can be substituted or added for additional strength.
To lengthen the arm, add an additional craft stick to the far end of the fixed stick using one rubber band to secure it into place.
At the end of a catapult arm is the projectile basket, which is fashioned out of a Tic Tac container door. Carefully snap the small door off the lid as illustrated above. Place the door smooth side down at the end of the second craft stick and secure it with a rubber band. The throwing arm is now complete.
It's time to build the frame out of the Tic Tacs' main container. Fasten two craft sticks to the opposite sides of the container using two rubber bands. The elastic pressure from the two rubber bands may cause some warping at the open end of the container, but minimal warping won't affect the catapult's performance.
This step requires four craft sticks and six rubber bands. With the foundation of the frame complete, fasten each of the four craft sticks to the endpoints of the container assembly as shown. Once fastened, rotate the sticks to form a triangular frame, then fasten each pair together with one rubber band each. The round ends of these crafts sticks should extend slightly at the bottom to create four feet.
It's time to combine both assemblies. Clamp the arm assembly onto the end of the Tic Tac container frame. Once fastened, the swing arm assembly should move back and forth between the two triangular wooden supports.
This catapult will be powered with one rubber band. Place the rubber band around the swing arm and then slide one end between the two attached craft sticks.
Finally, place the remaining part of the Tic Tac container lid between the two triangular frames to create what is called the padded beam or bed. Fasten the lid to the frame using one rubber band. Then wrap the rubber band fixed to the arm around the cap.
The catapult is complete! When firing, place your hand on the frame for support. Remember to use eye protection! Never aim this catapult at a living target and use only safe ammunition. Soft mints, hard candies, and mini marshmallows work nicely.
CARD BOX CATAPULT
Game night just got interesting — this MiniWeapon is engineered from laminated playing cards and ballpoint pens. When it's your turn, break out the Card Box Catapult for the ultimate game changer!
2 plastic ballpoint pens with caps
1 playing card box
7 playing cards
1 rubber band
1 plastic bottle cap Duct tape
Pliers or thin dowel (optional)
Large scissors or hobby knife
Hot glue gun
Paper clip (optional)
1+ soft candies or similar objects
Disassemble two plastic ballpoint pens into their various parts. Dislodge the rear pen-housing cap on both pens. You may need a tool — pliers or a thin dowel — to dislodge the rear pen-housing caps. Also remove the pen-tip caps. Lay out all the components of the pen and do not discard anything at this point.
Using large scissors or a hobby knife, shorten one of the pen housing tubes to the width of the playing card box; use the box as a guide before cutting.
Take the newly shortened pen housing — the width of the card box — and attach one rear pen-housing cap to each end. Push the caps in completely. The pen housing should now be sealed from both ends.
Use a hot glue gun to attach two sets of three playing cards together. These combined sets will make up the two side supports of the catapult. Let both glued card sets dry completely before proceeding to the next step.
Both card stacks will now be transformed into the sides of the catapult. This wedge design is only for aesthetics, so exact measurements are not essential. The following measurements are provided only as a guide.
To create the wedge, establish the bottom of the card supports and pencil a mark roughly 1/2 inch up on both sides. On the opposite end of the cards, divide the width into three equal sections, and mark each third with a pencil. These marks will be the guide for cutting. With the scissors or hobby knife, use these marks to remove both wedges from the card assembly.
Next, measure 21/2 inches up from the uncut end of the card, then punch one center hole using a single-hole punch. A hobby knife can be substituted if needed.
Repeat both steps on the second card stack. You should have two identical card stacks with aligned holes when completed.
Apply hot glue to both sides of the card box and place both card stacks flush with the bottom of the box. It is important that the punched holes line up.
When the glue is dry, place the modified pen assembly between the two card stack supports and hold it in place using thumbtacks at both ends. Use the side-view drawing above for reference. Once in place, the attached pen assembly serves as the catapult's padded beam that will catch the swing arm.
Feed one rubber band through the pen tip. You may need a tool help feed the band; to make one, bend a small hook at the end of a paper clip to assist with this delicate task. On the larger-diameter side of the pen tip, tie a knot into the rubber band. This knot should prevent the rubber band from passing back through the pen tip. Tie additional knots if needed.
Next, hot glue the pen tip assembly into the uncut pen housing. The glue will prevent the pen tip from dislodging while firing the catapult and reinforce the fixed rubber band.
On the opposite end of the pen housing assembly, hot glue and plug the remaining pen tip into the housing as shown. When the glue dries, hot glue and plug the remaining pen housing you cut and removed in step 2. These three parts should be aligned when you're finished.
Hot glue one plastic bottle cap from a soft drink bottle to the swing arm assembly, opposite the rubber band. Let the glue dry before handling.
It's time to complete the swing arm assembly by adding the rotation beam crafted out of two pen-tip caps. This step will require two hands and a little patience, so it's best if you precut two pieces of duct tape roughly 11/2 inches long before starting.
Perpendicular from one another, and no more than 2 inches from the bottom of the pen arm, sandwich two pen caps around the pen housing, as shown above. Once each pen cap's clip overlaps the other cap, tape them together.
Now, slide the completed swing arm assembly between the card frame until both pen cap ends snap into the two punched holes. The swing arm should then rotate back and forth. Adjust the pen cap axis point if needed by sliding the swing arm up and down, and then add additional hot glue to the adjoined pen caps.
The Card Box Catapult is almost ready for battle. Affix the rubber band on the swing arm to the rear of the card box. To strengthen this connection, fold up one playing card like an accordion and then add hot glue to hold the folds together.
When it is dry, glue the folded-up card to the rear of the card box as shown. Then fix the last thumbtack to the center of the folded up card, with the rubber band looped underneath. For safety reasons, add additional hot glue to strengthen the connection of the thumbtack.
Remember to use eye protection! Never aim this catapult at a living target and use only safe ammunition. Soft mints, candy, and mini marshmallows work nicely.
When a rival lord locks himself in his fortress and refuses to surrender, a good old-fashioned siege is necessary. The mere sight of the Ruler Catapult, with its formidable foot-long swing arm and metal clasp bracing, will quickly persuade the feuding nobleman to sue for peace. However, if negations go south, there's no need to huff and puff; you can just blast his house down!
7 small binder clips (19 mm)
9 craft sticks
1 wooden ruler with peg holes
2 rubber bands
1 plastic milk jug cap
Hot glue gun
1+ mini marshmallows
To begin building the Ruler Catapult, you must first assemble three identical braces. Clamp two binder clips at the opposite ends of one craft stick as shown. Repeat this step twice more, so you have three completed braces.
Now attach the braces together using six additional craft sticks to build the catapult frame. Add two craft sticks to each brace by taping each stick to a binder clip handle on the same side of the assembly. Repeat this step three times (top image).
Next, with all the binder clip clamp openings facing upward, tape all three of the assemblies together by attaching the binder clip handles (middle image).
Once your frame is complete, fold the assembly into a triangle as shown. Then tape the remaining binder clip handles to the two remaining craft sticks. When completed, this frame should be structurally sound (bottom image).
The swing arm on this catapult will be constructed from one wooden ruler. However, a plastic or metal ruler could be substituted. Begin by looping two rubber bands together to construct one large double rubber band, as shown. Then slide one end of the rubber band through the ruler's top peg hole and back around the ruler to hold the double rubber band in place.
At the opposite end of the wooden ruler, tape just one of the small binder clip's handles to the ruler, which enables the binder clip to swing back and forth while attached. Do not clamp the binder clip onto the ruler.
Next, carefully hot glue a plastic milk jug cap (or a cap similar in size) to the end of the ruler, above the double rubber band and opposite the binder clip. You have just completed the catapult arm.
Attach the swing arm assembly to the front of the catapult frame by clamping the attached binder clip to the craft stick front brace. The arm should be centered onto the brace, and swing freely up and down.
To complete the catapult, loop the attached double rubber band around the top of the craft stick frame. To fire, hold the bottom of the frame with one hand, pull back the loaded swing arm, and release when ready!
Remember to use eye protection! Never aim this catapult at a living target and use only safe ammunition. Soft mints and mini marshmallows work nicely.
CANDY BOX CATAPULT
Hungry for a victory? The Candy Box Catapult is a sweet choice for your next siege attack! Not only is it engineered to produce tremendous firepower across ample distances on the battlefield, but it also features an all-in-one ammo holder integrated into its base.
1 wooden skewer
1 candy box (5 oz. or similar size)
6 wooden tongue depressors
4 rubber bands
1 plastic spoon
Hot glue gun
Large scissors (optional)
1+ soft candies
Using wire cutters, carefully cut off two identical sections of a wooden skewer that are both 1 inch longer than the width of the candy box. When cut, the lengths of the wooden skewer sections will overhang the width of the candy box.
Then, with a hobby knife, cut a small door into the top corner of the candy box. If the box has been opened, reseal the open flaps with hot glue or tape for structural reasons.
Bundle four wooden tongue depressors using two pieces of tape, as illustrated.
Carefully drill two holes into the stack of depressors using a power drill with a drill bit diameter that is slightly larger than the wooden skewer's diameter. Drill the first hole at the end of the stack. Make sure the hole is an equal distance from the sides and edge of the stick, as shown. Drill the second hold in the center of the stack.
Both holes should be drilled completely through the stack. After the holes have been drilled, remove the tape and separate the tongue depressors.
Separate the tongue depressors into two pairs. Then, using the top drilled holes, slide each pair onto the opposite ends of one of the shortened skewer rods.
Once they're in place, hot glue the four wooden depressors to the side of the candy box as shown in the illustration on the right. The front pair of depressors should be glued at a 45-degree angle and flush to the bottom of the box; the second pair of depressors should be glued at 90-degree angle with some material overhanging the box. After the glue is dry, use the hobby knife or a pair of large scissors to clip the excess material off the bottom of the tongue depressors so that the box sits flush with the tabletop.
Fasten a rubber band around each of the two outer ends, where the skewer and depressors meet. This will help stabilize the frame and prevent the skewer from dislodging during firing.
Now it's time to assemble the swing arm. Center the second shortened skewer in between the far ends of the two remaining tongue depressors. Then sandwich the skewer into place by taping each side around the skewer, as shown in the top illustration.
On the opposite end of the swing arm assembly, slide one plastic spoon between the two tongue depressors and tape it in place by wrapping tape around the tongue depressors (bottom illustration).
Attach the swing arm assembly to the frame by slightly angling and guiding the attached skewer into the lower center holes on the wooden catapult frame.
The swing arm should swing freely, and the bottom of the arm should clear the top surface of the candy box. If there is resistance between the swing arm and the box, adjust the swing arm skewer.
It's time to add some elastic firepower to this catapult. To do so, wedge one rubber band between the front tongue depressor and the spoon neck. Then loop the other end of that rubber band around the top of the frame. Depending on the size of the rubber band and desired tension, you might need to wrap the rubber band around the skewer more than once.
Place the last rubber band around the lower skewer. This will prevent the skewer from sliding out of the frame and provide additional support.
Now you're ready to fire. Remember to use eye protection! Never aim this catapult at a living target and use only safe ammunition. Soft mints and mini marshmallows work nicely, and the door you cut into the candy box in step 1 allows you to store the extras in the catapult's base.
PEN AND PENCIL CATAPULT
The Pen and Pencil Catapult has all the classic elements of a formidable desktop catapult. Fabricated from basic office supplies, it's the perfect siege weapon for a rainy day. Display it with pride and those who oppose you will suffer grave consequences.
7 wooden pencils
13 rubber bands
3 plastic ballpoint pens
1 plastic bottle cap
1 large paper clip (length must be greater than the diameter of the bottle cap)
1 small or medium binder clip (19 mm or 32 mm)
1+ soft candies
Construct a triangle frame out of three pencils, securing the connections with three rubber bands. The finished triangle will have three roughly equal sides. The pencils should overhang at the ends; these sections will become the catapult's feet.
Repeat this step with another three pencils so you have two identical triangles.
Excerpted from Miniweapons of Mass Destruction 3 by John Austin. Copyright © 2013 Austin Design, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Chicago Review Press Incorporated.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Play It Safe,
1 Rubber Band Catapults,
Tic Tac Catapult,
Card Box Catapult,
Ruler Catapult Candy,
Pen and Pencil Catapult,
Metal Hanger Catapult,
2 Nonelastic Catapults,
Gift Card Catapult,
Tic Tac Onager,
Depressor Spoon Catapult,
3 Bows and Arrows,
Double Skewer Bow,
Plastic Hanger Bow,
Advanced Pen Bow,
Composite Ruler Bow,
Wooden Ruler Crossbow,
Craft Stick Crossbow,
Plastic Ruler Crossbow,
Gift Card Ballista,
Mounted Siege Ballista,
6 Mini Siege,
Craft Stick Mini Bow,
Paper Clip Bow,
Bottle Cap Crossbow,
Clip and Cap Catapult,
Carton Siege Tower,
Tower of Oatmeal,
Storm the Castle,